Recently my daughter and I saw the dietician to help with my daughters weight-loss goals. We learned a lot of good things that we have already implemented, ie, more whole grains, less carbs in general, eat more veggies and fruits, lower fats, and all that good stuff.
However, just as we were leaving she handed us a sample meal plan that had me scratching my head. I am really not sure how to make this work:
2 grains (1.5 cup high fibre cereal)
1 milk (1 cup skim milk)
1 fruit (1 small banana)
1 fat (1 tsp non-hydrogenated margarine)
2 vegetables (1/2 cup snap peas, 1/2 cup celery)
1 grain (1/2 cup whole wheat pasta)
1 milk (1 cup skim milk)
1 vegetable (1/2 cup romaine leaves, 1/4 cup broccoli)
1 meat (3/4 cup cooked kidney beans)
1 fat (1/2 tsp canola oil, 1 Tbsp low fat dressing)
1 fruit (1/2 cup grapes)
My big frustration (and my daughters... who just wants to turn that plan into a paper airplane) is exactly WHAT meals am I making with these ingredients? Is this plan realistic?
My honest thinking is that the breakfast and lunch and the snacks pretty much make sense and she is already doing that.
As the cook for the entire family (family of 6) what suppers could you suggest that would work with this plan? I am having a very hard time wrapping my head around this part of the plan. I am not about to start cooking 2 meals every night!
I think you can make this work without cooking 2 meals and the only thing I can see is that your hubby and son would need to switch to whole grain pasta.
It's not so hard to keep skim milk in the fridge, even if your hubby and son drink whole milk. I'm sure they would also benefit from a good healthy salad; and the kidney beans is only one example of a "meat". You could fix whatever kind of lean meat you want, and just watch the portion size(s) - for example a serving of meat is approx the size of a deck of playing cards. It could include a small steak, pork chop, turkey, chicken, fish etc. It would be best to have this meat grilled or broiled to help eliminate the fat, but this is true for everyone, whether they are trying to lose weight or not.
You can let hubby and son have larger portions of meat/pasta, add a slice of bread, etc.
There are a variety of foods that can be used -- you just need to do a bit of research into what is commonly known as "The Exchange Diet" -- we had to do this when our son was dx'd with diabetes at the age of 10. It's how to "exchange" 1 food for another and still keep the diet balanced - for instance: "exchanging" that small banana for a serving of strawberries, blueberries; or exchanging a glass of milk for fat free cheese. Add some tomatoes, sweet bell pepper strips, and a boiled egg to that romaine lettuce, in place of the broccoli. There are a wide variety of foods that can be used and I'd almost bet there would be plenty that your hubby and son would enjoy as well.
Keep in mind that a "diet" is just the food that you eat. You need to try to work with your daughter(s) to make healthy changes that will be sustainable from now on, not just until a certain amount of weight is lost; because if they go back to "old habits" once the weight is gone, most likely it will all be regained and no one will have benefited from all of this.
Another thing is that even though your hubby and son don't need to lose weight, they do need to maintain healthy eating habits for their over all health. It's just that they would be able to eat larger portions and maybe add in some extra calories. No one is immune to health issues and as we get older, the chances of them occurring increase. I'm not sure how old your son is, but it would be good to try to get him into the habit of healthy eating as well.
Obesity/overweight is not the only food related issue that causes health problems. Best of luck to you.
Thanks Barb, the way you explain it totally makes sense. I was extremely thrown off by the random list of ingredients that didn't seem to make anything! I was honestly expecting a meal plan to be actual dishes and not some disjointed random list.
I would say that all in all we are eating healthy meals and we just need to watch portion sizes for the most part.
I will definitely do a search for The Diet Exchange you mentioned.
As for hubby and son (12) I do what I can to keep the meals healthy but when it comes to salads, well, that is "Rabbit Food" and trying to get all the colours of the rainbow makes them think of Skittles! But, I do what I can with prepping the meal and as much as possible we use the BBQ (weather permitting!).
One of our favs is kabobs. Works well on a grill or a BBQ. You can do any meat with it easy & they cook fast. We usually do chicken with onions, bell peppers & mushrooms. Sometimes it's teriyaki sauce, sometimes a little bit of oil & seasonings or BBQ sauce. When it's done we throw it over some brown rice. All you are missing at that point is dairy & we just tend to drink milk with dinner anyways. As for the salads... well I am not a big fan of rabbit food myself. =/ So we try & make salads a balanced meal that happens to include a serving of green leafy stuff in it. Leftover grilled chicken is a prime ingredient here. ^_^
The list of foods is a starting point to which you can add all types of things that your family enjoys. One great thing is using a variety of seasonings to change flavors without adding a lot of calories.
There are a lot of people who don't care for salads, so maybe you can stick salad ingredients (lettuce, tomato, cukes, onions, peppers, etc) on a sandwich - hamburger, tuna salad, ham, turkey, etc. Have that on whole grain bread or whole grain tortilla or pita and you have a meal. Add a few strawberries and a glass of milk - you have a great lunch.
And yes -- I actually prefer an eating plan in which most healthy foods can be enjoyed, so long as portion size is the key. There are plenty of web sites that tell you what a portion should be -- I'll be glad to help find some if you like. The idea is to have a "small" slice of cake - not the whole cake; or 1/2 cup of ice cream, not the whole 1/2 gal. Even calories for treats can be figured into your plan and it should always be based on what you enjoy eating or it won't be something you can stick to, to make it a "lifestyle change".
Starting kids off on the right foot - teaching them the "good" things to eat when they are young will help keep them on track for later in life when health issues might force a complete change of habits. Take myself for instance - now that I have to eat differently because of health issues, I've had to change a lot of things. Fortunately, I do like salads, fruits and veggies, so it's easy to add them in, but it's a bit harder to leave the mashed potatoes and gravy, fried chicken, potato chips, etc out because those were the staples that I grew up on.
I'll be happy to help you in any way I can - you might want to check out the healthy cooking forum - I believe they have all kinds of recipes and ideas that you might be able to incorporate into something the whole family will enjoy.
Oh, by the way -- it's also a good idea to get the kids involved in meal planning - you can teach them better choices and they will have a say in what's put on the table, making them much more likely to eat well.
Thanks kittengamer, I love the idea of kabobs! I could get the kids to make their own with their own veggies they like! That would totally work.
Thanks Barb, I would love website suggestions for healthy recipes. My daughter is definitely changing her eating habits but mostly switching over to fruits as snacks during the day, considering she is in junior high... she can eat in some classes but it cannot be noisy crunchy veggies so fruits work better for her during the day. She gets her veggies at supper and also some veggies in her lunch sandwich so it should be all balancing out in the end. I noticed this morning that she is looking trimmer already so I believe that things are coming together for her! :)
On another interesting note, my daughter made chocolate chip cookies the other day and put in half white flour and half whole wheat flour. We did not tell anyone that the switch was made and simply waited for the comments... but no one commented besides saying how yummy they were! Hahaha... hubby and son are eating healthier and they do not even realize it! Some day I may let them in on the little secret!
Yay for you -- see, it's not impossible after all.
One word of caution -- some fruits, although good for you, have a lot of sugar - even though it's natural sugar, it's still sugar and will be used up quicker than some other foods; and some fruits have a lot of calories.
The chocolate chip cookies idea sounds like a good one. Might have to try that.
Keep up the good work and do keep us posted on how things go.
True enough about the fruits for sure, but I figure its a big step in the right direction and certainly better then the cookies she was taking before! She does get 1 hour of phys-ed per day as well and our school really does focus getting them active and also during lunch hour they are in the gym playing games as well so thats another 1/2 hour of activity. Its a small school so to keep the jr + sr. high kids busy they open up the gym for the lunch hour and they play badminton and stuff like that. Then at nights we do our power walks or Wii Fit or Wii Active.
I have seen her results on Wii Fit Plaza last night and since seeing the dietician her weight is coming off steadily now! I so happy for her that her hard work is finally showing results!
On another note Hubby and son were actually eating salad last night! Hmmm.... guess "Rabbit Food" ain't so bad after all! I had popped a bunch of romaine lettuce and red leaf lettuce into the salad spinner and figured I would put it on the supper table that way. My daughter and I like to add chopped veggies to it but Hubby and son decided they would make a Ceaser Salad on their plates instead.... OK fine, that works! By the end of the meal the salad spinner was empty and I must say that Hubby and son had about 2 servings each! OK I know what I will do again next time! :)
I'm happy for you. Your son & husband may not realize it, but you are doing them a world of good too. I know I have a much deeper appreciation for the healthy way my parents made me eat as a kid. I hated it then, but now it makes so much sense & I am thankful for it.
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